City preserves memory in new building

Published 12:07 am Saturday, August 28, 2010

The City of Troy is making a taking something old, making it new and, in the process, preserving the historical significance of a building.

That’s just what’s taking place with the dedication of the new Troy City Schools Board of Education office on Highway 87.

The facility, which will be open to the public during a dedication cereomy from 3 to 4:30 p.m.. Sunday, was formerly the United States Army Reserve Training Center.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It was dedicated once before: March 15, 1959, to the “sacred memory” of Grady C. Anderson. Until now, the building was known as the Grady Anderson Army Reserve Training Center.

Troy City Councilman Jason Reeves said he is especially proud that the building will be used for another good and noble purpose, as the education hub for the city’s school-age children.

“When the Army Reserve Training Center was built, the Troy City Commission had the foresight to include a revision clause in the contract,” Reeves said. “From what I understand, there were only two cities that included such clauses in their contracts: Troy and a city in Kentucky.”

The revision clause guaranteed that if the building were no longer used to house the Army Reserve Center, the building would revert back to the city.

“Because of that clause, the building came back to the city and now we have a very nice building for the city school board,” Reeves said.

Although the building no longer carries the name of Pike County native and former Troy resident Grady Anderson, Reeves said it is important that people remember the man for whom the reserve center was named.

The outdoor sign, a bronze plaque and a photograph of Anderson were removed when the renovation began but were located in storage in Dothan.

Reeves was successful in contacting the United States government on behalf of the Anderson family and requesting that those items be given to the family.

“We are extremely proud to have these items,” said Pat Anderson, who is Grady Anderson’s nephew. “Uncle Grady was very special to all of us. He was a good man and was known and loved by people all over the county.”

Grady Anderson was born in Brundidge in 1893 and enlisted in the Army in 1919, serving in France, England and Ireland. He fought in the battles of St. Michael, Meuse and Argonne.

Pat Anderson said he cannot confirm any of the stories he has heard about his uncle’s heroics during World War I but did say that most of Anderson’s battalion was wiped out in one of the battles. Anderson he was credited with having saved the lives of many fellow soldiers.

“Our family was honored to have the Army Reserve Center here in Troy named for Uncle Grady,” Anderson said. “And, we are grateful to have the plaque and photograph in the family.”

When the plaque was unveiled during the dedication service in 1959, The Troy Herald reported that the plaque would memorialize Anderson “as long as the steel and stone building stands.”

Pat Anderson said his family would be honored if the Troy City Board of Education would designate a place to display the memorabilia in its new facility.

Anderson said his uncle was just an ordinary man who was and is representative of the thousands of many men and women who have answered their country’s call to duty and then come home to be contributing and productive citizens.

“I was only about 14 years old when Uncle Grady died, but he had a big impact on my life,” Anderson said. “He was very good to me. One year, he gave me and my brother Red Ryder B-B guns and we were so proud of them.”

Anderson was a diabetic and his nephew remembers seeing him go to the sugar dish and get a teaspoon of sugar and eat it.

“It’s funny the things you remember about people,” Anderson said. “But what I remember most was that he came to the home place every Sunday and had dinner with us. Uncle Grady was a barber and every other Sunday, he gave all the boys on the Tarentum Road a free haircut.”

Grady Anderson cut hair in and around Pike County for about 32 years, many of those at Byrd’s Barber Shop in Troy.

He died at his home in Troy on Oct. 1, 1951, following a brief illness. He was 57 years old.